Monday, November 29, 2010

Out of Hibernation

So I've been blogging almost exclusively about my miscarriage for almost 7 weeks, and I'm getting tired of it.  I'm getting tired of being consumed by my miscarriage.  It's bad enough that I'm going to have to live with this hole in my heart for the rest of my life.  I don't need to blog about it exclusively forever as well.  I'm not, believe it or not, Miscarriage Girl.  Oh, I'm sure it will come up from time to time - there's no way it can't, and I'm not going to hide it.  I'm going to continue to talk about it and share with others who are going through it because the alternative is to keep it all hush-hush, which I hate, but I'm not going to start off every blog entry with something about my miscarriage.  It just doesn't work like that.

I've been hibernating, but I'm starting to come out of the cave.  I'm a different person now, that's for sure.  There's more grit, less giddy trusting in life, and I'm pretty much not hip with putting up with anything anymore.  I have less patience for some things that have always bothered me, but I've always stayed quiet about because I'm a Nice Girl.  But in other ways I'm more understanding, and in awe of the human spirit because people go through so much, and they are so resilient, and I'm amazed at that.  

In celebration of my shedding of the hibernatory cave, and entering the springtime (albeit in December), I'm making some early resolutions.  I will spend time doing the things I like to do, and not doing the things I think I ought to be doing because it will make somebody else happy (and my job does count as something that makes me happy, so that can stay).

1.  I will do a Renaissance English History podcast at least once every 6 weeks, starting this weekend.  Like, no kidding.  It's on my calendar.  I'm getting back on that train.
2.  I will figure out how to work my new d60 camera which I've had for nearly 6 months.
3.  I will also figure out how to photoshop my photos to make them look even more awesome.
4.  I will not be ashamed of the amount of Peter Cetera I listen to.
5.  I will really (and I mean really) read all the classics I've never read but always meant to.  At least one a month. 
6.  I will do NaNoWriMo in December.  It won't be the same as doing it in November, but I'm not going to wait until next November to write my book.
7.  I will not feel guilty because I don't send out Christmas cards.  Seriously, Christmas cards were only invented to get people to use the new Penny Post in Victorian England, so it's a bit of consumerism that I don't need to feel guilty for not being part of.  
8.  I will also not feel guilty about the fact that I listen to Christmas music all year long.  And I don't just mean classical Christmas music like the Messiah, but rather, I listen to schmaltzy stuff all year long.  And I don't care.  
9.  I will unsubscribe to my RSS feed of the New Yorker because I never read it, and it just makes me feel guilty for all of the intelligent conversation I'm missing out on.  Vanity Fair can stay, though.  It doesn't make me feel as guilty.
10.  I will listen to the Harmonia Early Music Podcast every week because it is awesome.
11.  I will drink more water and less soda.

And finally, I will figure out a way to do something with my grief that is productive.  Whether it's my camp/retreat idea, or something else, Baby Teysko will be honored, and his little life will have more meaning than he could ever imagine.   

So that's what you can count on me for ongoingly.  I might break down and lose it from time to time - that's to be expected - but I'm coming back into the world.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Unbearable Smugness of Carrying my KPCC Thank-You-Gift Travel Mug

I really don't know what that blog title means.  I just like how it sounded.

Well here's an annoyance... I go to ebay to look for some doc martens (in an attempt to regain some of the innocence I had when I was 17, I think) and the default search box seems to link you to the page to sell an item. So I keep putting in Green Doc Martens and it brings up a page walking me through the steps to sell my Green Doc Martens, which I can't do because I don't have them, because I want to buy them, but it won't let me.  It's a circle of ebay craziness!  I guess they're doing updates or something to prepare for Cyber-Monday (but seriously, how many Formally-Named Shopping Days do we need in this country?).

And on to more pleasant subjects.  England drew the first test in the Ashes (yes, you can play for five days and not have a winner).  This is a Big Deal because it wasn't  looking too good for them on Wednesday when one of the Australian bowlers got a hat trick.  And I actually know what a hat trick is, thank you (it's when a bowler gets three wickets in a row, I'm pretty sure).   I love the Ashes.  Even more, I love that my hubby loves it.  Because then I know what's going on without having to put in the effort of following it myself.  Cricket is confusing!  I don't have the time to figure out why Australia decided to declare at the end of the second day, or whether England avoided a follow on.

For those of you not hip to cricket tournaments, the Ashes is a tournament between England and Australia that occurs every two years, alternating countries - though it always happens in the summer in each country, which means it's not quite two years on the dot, with the whole southern-hemisphere thing.  They play five tests, and each test is five days each.  So that's a 25 day tournament, which will extend until January 7.  They play all five tests, even if one of the teams wins the first three.

There is a big controversy brewing in the cricket world right now between the purists who want to keep Test Cricket going exclusively - that's the kind where both teams wear white, they have tea breaks, and it goes on for five days involving a lot of long-term strategy - and the new 20/20 matches.  And no, 20/20 doesn't refer to an eyesight exam score.  In cricket, every time six balls are bowled, that's called an Over.  So 20/20 means that each team gets 20 Overs, and then that's it.  20/20 games last about 3-4 hours, rather than the five days of test cricket.  And there are no tea breaks, which is sad.  Tea breaks in sports are very civilized and I approve of them.

20/20 got its first big break a few years ago when the Indian Premiere League started - they got the best cricketers in the world, paid them a huge amount of money, brought over  Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and created eight teams for a month-long tournament.  The cheerleaders had to wear tights under their skirts, incidentally.  After the first game, too many people complained of the impropriety of the short skirts.  Sharu Khan owned the Kolkuta Knight Riders and created this kick-ass theme song complete with Bollywood-inspired over-the-top music video.  It was a month of cricket-craziness, and thanks to Dish Network, we got to watch every minute of it, direct from India.  The commercials were the best - Indian personals websites, calling cards, money-wiring services, and an upcoming field hockey tournament (apparently Indian men play field hockey - go figure).

Four years ago we went to England over Thanksgiving, when the first test in the Ashes was just starting.  J wound up getting sick and camped out for three days on Sandor's couch becoming entranced by the bowling and batting.  I'm not as into the strategy of test cricket as hubby is, but I like the Ashes because Shane Warne is one of the commentators for the Australians and I have a total crush on him.

Shane Warne is not a good man, though.  Same old story - hot wife, he cheats, everybody hates him, etc.  This week Sandor and Anna Louisa were over for Thanksgiving and we watched Skating with the Stars, which is hosted by a very cute man who sounds like he comes from Yorkshire called Vernon Kay, pictured.  The conversation went like this:
Them: "he's big in America, too?"
Me:  "I've never heard of him - maybe just for this show?"
Them: "he's trying to get big outside of England."
Me: "he's super cute."
Them: "he's an asshole."

Turns out that he was married to a very-hot Tess Daly, and then decided that he would send racy text messages to a Page 3 Girl (ie the girls who take off their tops for Page 3 of The Sun).  When he was caught, he issued this very heartfelt apology:

“Now this week you may or may not be aware that because of some stupid and foolish decisions I’ve made I’ve disappointed and let down a lot of people. To my family and everybody I’m very sorry. Right, let’s crack on!”

No wonder he wanted to get out of the UK to host an ice-skating-reality-show for 6 weeks.  I'd want to get away too.  

And in other news, Gran Turismo 5 has finally been released.  Hubby has been waiting for four years for this game.  In 2006 the PS3 came out, and it was announced that GT5 would be released in January.  We bought a kick-butt huge HD tv used on Craigslist on Christmas eve that year.  Hubby got surround sound hooked up so that he could really get into the engine noise.  We bought the PS3.  And no GT5.  They said July.  July comes.  No GT5.  In 2007 or 2008 they released some kind of prologue with a limited number of tracks and cars, and that was supposed to hold over the fans until the real game came out.  It was released on Wednesday.  Almost four years after it was supposed to have been released.  According to hubby, this is not just a racing game.  This is a driving simulation game.  I don't really know the difference, but he does.  The introductory video that plays when you start the game is pretty awesome.  Hubby said that even if the game was comprised entirely of only this video, he would have been happy.  

Me, I'm wondering why, with all that awesome programming and the physics that each of the cars have, and the reality of it all, and the general awesomeness of the whole thing, they couldn't have come up with a better soundtrack.  It's all Smooth Jazz, just like GT4 was.  I always know he's playing a Gran Turismo game because of the crappy Sad FM smooth jazz emanating from the speakers in between races.

I have to admit, I'm slightly jealous.  Hubby gets his GT5 game, and I'm still waiting on a new Oblivion.  

I guess that's it for now.  Life is going on, and I guess that's what healing is all about.  Hubby is racing just like he raced in GT4 when I first met him.  Five years later, and so much is still just the same.  Different house, same general geographic area.  Same job.  More cats.  And I lost a baby.  It's just always kind of there.  I wonder whether that's how it will always be.  I guess I've got enough time to find out. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays Suck, and finding a Purpose in my Grief

Six weeks ago I was delivering my boy.  Tuesdays seriously suck.  Tuesday is officially The Worst Day of the Week.  I can't even watch Glee anymore because I hate Tuesdays so much.  I can't think of many things I hate worse than Tuesdays right now.

The upside?  I did 20 minutes of cardio today.  It wasn't much, but anything is something, and I hadn't done anything at all for almost 7 weeks.  Between being sick, then delivery, then the issues with my back, I had become quite the couch potato.  The doctor said I could start to work out again, but nothing too serious - just enough to get the heart beat up.  So I did part of a Dancing With The Stars workout disc.  Nothing like a little bit of Max to look at while you're exercising.

I've been thinking about my grief and how I feel like I need a break from life.  I was a little bit worried about myself, but then I read this on -

I don't worry about the women who write about crying and saying they can't go on. They are working through their pain and grief. I worry about the woman who just wants to try again, and doesn't mention or think about the pain of losing a baby. 

So I'm thinking I'm doing all right.

We are getting back on the Trying to Conceive train now, and it's nice to have something to think about - a project, as it were.  On one hand I feel like that's a betrayal to Baby Teysko, but I also know that he wants us to be happy.

I've been thinking about God and my faith in all of this.  I haven't written much about God, but I do talk to Him/Her/It every day about all of this.  For ease in writing, I will refer to God as a Him, but I fervently believe that God is neither he/she or it.  God, to me, is the energy in the universe, the life force, and our puny little brains can't imagine the overwhelming everywhereness of God, so we refer to God as a Him to make it understandable.  God is all of the love and consciousness of the universe.

So I've been thinking about why God would let this happen to me.  Especially given my last lengthy post about how I've always been a good person and I follow rules, etc etc.  I can honestly say that there hasn't been one moment where I've questioned this being God's will.  I don't like it, but I have to believe that I can't comprehend what God's will is.  And I have to believe that there will come a time when this will all become clear to me.  There might be lessons that I needed to learn out of this - what matters and what doesn't, the complete unimportance of everything that doesn't matter, patience, letting go, not needing to be in control of everything, dealing with grief...and the list goes on.  Maybe these were the lessons that I was sent to earth to learn.  Maybe these are the things I'm supposed to be dealing with.  Maybe before I came here, I had a talk with God, and he said, "I think this term we should focus on grief and letting go," and maybe I agreed to this.  Who knows?

One thing I do know is that I feel like I have a new purpose in life out of this experience.  I feel like there are so many women out there who have experienced this hurt - 1 in 4 according to the statistics - but nobody ever talks about it.  We talk about cancer.  We talk about AIDS.  We talk about heart disease.  But we never talk about the grief that 25% of the female population feels over losing a child.  It's such a deep, personal, painful thing, and I think people just don't know what to do with it.  It's ugly and it's horrific and it's terrible, but it's there.  And I want to be one of the people talking about it.

I also want to do something to help other people heal.  I've been thinking about starting some type of weekend retreat for couples up in my beautiful mountains.  It's just an idea right now, but I was thinking that it would be lovely to have a healing place where couples who have just experienced this loss can go for a long weekend, and mix therapy with a bit of romance, so that couples can start to heal.  There are tons of church camps and conference centers up here, and I think that I should be able to get a location without much of a problem.  Then I'd just need therapists, child care, food, etc.  I could start a non-profit or something to raise money for it.

If I could do something like this, I would be honoring Baby Teysko's legacy of bringing J and I so much closer together and taking our relationship to a whole new level.  And I would be providing something for all of the women (and men) who are hurting and want both a place to get away from it all, and a place where their grief can be understood.

I think then I might understand what the purpose of this horrible mess was.

I'll keep posting updates to my plan here - but if you would like to be involved with this in any way, please email me or leave a comment.  This week I will share the idea - in its conception stage - with the leader of our support group, and also my pastor (who has a masters in counseling and also had a miscarriage).  So I will get some feedback from them, and refine the idea a little bit more.

Yay for something positive coming out of something horrific...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another sunrise

Sandor and Anna Louisa are here from England, and we're hunkered down waiting for the snow, but here's a sunset from yesterday morning, as the storm was just coming in and LA was blanketed (those are clouds up against the mountains).  Took this with a point and shoot camera - wish I would have had my d60 with me - i can't imagine how awesome it would have looked...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And on a lighter note

Oh hooray, it's supposed to snow this weekend in my mountains!  And my best friends from London are coming for Thanksgiving, so we'll be snowed in together, painting and watching holiday movies, and sitting by the fire.  They were supposed to come see me with a big belly, but I guess that will have to be another trip.  Sigh...

But we will still have a good time, baking cookies and making our Thanksgiving Day dinner (and we all have a lot to be thankful for) and painting light-catchers that Anna Louisa bought for Baby T.  And I might get my nose pierced.  Woohooo!

Hubs and I discovered yesterday.  It's really quite mean, but they post videos of people failing epically.  Like this person who epically failed to get out of the way.

Other things I am enjoying these days include:
-Showers (I've always been a bath person, but I'm digging the time-saving factor with showers)
-My new espresso machine (I know I said this yesterday, but it really is worth two mentions)
-The tv show Community - Sadly, I've given up Glee because it's on Tuesday nights, and I have all the episodes since October 12 - my miscarriage - tivo'd and I can't bring myself to watch that october 12 episode because it makes me think about what I was going through at the same time, and I just can't bear it.  But Community is good.
-Redbox machines
-The ten minutes I spent playing with Wrigley today as she was chasing the reflection of my computer screen on the wall.  It was a good time, and I need to do that every day.

I'll be buying bread and milk and doing a snow dance tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Doing the right thing, losing it, and keeping it together (and nose piercings)

Another week, another celebrity says she had a miscarriage.  Pink opened up on the Ellen Degeneres show, confirming her pregnancy, and sharing about a previous miscarriage.  Seriously, is it just me, or are miscarriages absolutely everywhere?

As for me, I'm doing all right.  I had a breakdown on Sunday when we were going to see some friends of J's in San Jose.  On the way from Sacramento we stopped at Sonic (their pumpkin hot chocolate is on the list of things I'm absolutely sure I like) and J was sharing stories of the trouble he and these friends used to get up to in college.  Particularly things like raves and ecstasy and other assorted illegal substances.  This set me off because:

These friends of his have babies.
These friends of his partook of lots of illegal drugs.
I can count the times I have inhaled pot on my right hand.  That is the only illegal drug I have ever consumed.
I have no baby.

In my grief-stricken, hormonal world, this seemed grossly unfair, setting off a crying marathon the likes of which I doubt that Sonic has seen before.

Yesterday my awesome friend Meredith reminded me that just as I was not punished by losing Baby Teysko, these girls were not rewarded with their babies.  Sh*t happens sometimes.  Sometimes girls who did ecstasy get babies, and sometimes girls who smoked pot four times lose babies.  It's just how it goes.  

But here's the thing.  At the end of your life, you don't get a medal for playing by the rules.  Nobody cares.  Seriously.  Nobody really cares.  You can care, and if that's important to you, that's great.  I'm not talking about the harming-others-and-society kinds of rules here - obviously people care about those - people in uniforms with badges, for one.  But the little stuff.  Like whether you go through the express lane with more than 15 items.  Whether you litter when you're on back roads and nobody sees.  Whether you make a habit of speeding, or tailgating, or generally driving like an asshole.  Whether you take ecstasy tablets when you're in college.  

I noticed that when this first happened, I said that I really wanted to do a drug to put me to sleep and take all the pain away, but I was too smart and would try to grieve like a healthy person.  That's a phrase I've used before.  

My parents' divorce when I was a teenager was very messy.  Like, alcohol and firearms messy.  In a classic child-becomes-parent scenario, one night when the house was empty, I went through all of my dad's things, taking all of the aforementioned alcohol and firearms, and hiding them in my room up in the attic.  I wouldn't tell him where they were, but at least a few times I remember taking them all out and placing them around me - the bottles of alcohol and the gun cases- and thinking how it would be really easy, fast, and relatively painless to make the hurt go away.  

But you know what stopped me?  I remember thinking that I was too smart for that.  Plus, I recognized that it was the height of teenage-girl-drama to do something so stupid.  I knew that my parents pretty much sucked right then, but that I would be able to leave home soon enough, go away and live my own life away from them, and create my own family.  But if I indulged in the alcohol/firearm way out, I wouldn't have that opportunity.  And I'd really be cutting off my nose to spite my face. 

So I continued to do well in school so I could go away.  When I was 17 I smoked a Camel Special Light in the parking lot of kmart after a Spin Doctor's concert.  That was the height of my teenage rebellion.  Oh, and I wore doc martens.

I moved to Knoxville.  Then I moved to LA.  Then I moved to London.  Then I moved to New York.  Then I moved to Nashville.  Then I moved to LA again.  In the space of 11 years I had 15 different zip codes.  Then I got married and bought a house with a mortgage I could afford, and got cats, and got pregnant, and it seemed to be working out.

But here I am again, wanting to do something destructive, and not doing it because I'm too smart.  

A few weeks ago I went with J to one of the open AA meetings, and I found myself incredibly uncomfortable.  I hated all of those people.  Really hated them.  And I hated being there.  I didn't belong there, with those loser alcoholics, I thought.  When I shared my experience with J, he suggested that maybe I hated them all so much because I'm jealous of them: they did something I have always wanted to do, but never did - that is to say, they all completely lost it/ went crazy/ hit rock bottom/ checked out/ broke down / etc.  And they had people to pick them up, and they're all recovering now.  Maybe I hate them so much because I want to do that but never felt like I could.

I've danced at the brink of losing it - I've come close enough to peer over the edge and kind of make out shapes in the darkness down there (1995, for example, was a bad year which involved too much irresponsible credit card usage and bad internet relationships) - but I've always been able to stay on level ground, either through my own ingenuity and brains, through good luck, through the help of my parents (they weren't always crazy) or someone else who mentored me out of the muck (I'm looking at you, the teachers and counselors at PVHS), or a combination of all of those things.

A lot of the feelings I think I'm dealing with now are holdovers from being a teenager, when I wanted to collapse and completely lose it, but I couldn't because I was an only child who was desperate to get away from home, and was forward-thinking enough to know that in order to get away, I had to keep it together.  The circumstances are different now, but the feelings of wanting to just give up and let someone else deal with life for me for a while are the same.

For example, I forgot to pay the homeowners insurance bill that was due at the end of October.  Now I can't find it.  How am I supposed to deal with f*cking homeowners insurance when I'm dealing with mortuaries and death certificates?  I'll call them and sort it out, but it really pisses me off.  There should be some kind of service.  Like a "we'll handle life for you while you relax, and listen to peter cetera and blink 182 (can there be a weirder combination??  I'm not questioning it, I'm just going with it) and play with crayons, and read silly books, and sleep in, and drink hot chocolate for a few months" kind of service.  Does something like that exist?  Can somebody do that?  Maybe I should.  Maybe it should be a non-profit.  Hospitals could offer it to grieving people.

When I told J about my wanting to fall apart feelings, and shared the whole "I'm too smart for my own good" thing, I asked him what he thought.  He said that obviously as my husband, he didn't think I should fall apart.  But as an alcoholic, he thought for sure I should fall apart because I'm a mid-life-crisis waiting to happen.  That's how he put it.  Like eventually there's going to be something that will make me snap, and I will seriously lose it on a grand scale, making up for however many years of keeping it together.  I'll take off and move to Italy and wear designer sunglasses and chiffon scarves everywhere (I don't know where I came up with that).

So this is the stuff that I'm talking about in therapy, and trying to figure out.  Why, for example, do I so strongly hate people in AA so much when I'm in their meetings?  On a purely intellectual level, I really have no desire to fall apart.  I am blessed to have a good job that I enjoy, and I like going out into the world, and I even like talking to people sometimes.  I like my espresso machine, and I like being outside on our big deck.  I don't really want to completely fall apart.

But on an emotional level, it's very tempting.  And that takes me back to the beginning.  My first response to the temptation of falling apart is "you can't do everything you want to do all the time, like fall apart.  You have responsibilities."  And I sound exactly like my dad.  Who, incidentally, fell apart.  That aside, he's German, so he believes in following rules and fulfilling responsibilities and duty to family and job and country and everything like that.

My dad doesn't so much hate people who don't follow rules, as much as he just finds it incomprehensible.  "How can they be passing you when you're going 70 and the speed limit is 65," he asks, on the freeway.  "How can people have meth labs in their house?  It's illegal," is his response when I tell him they did a meth raid.  He just doesn't get it.  I've taken that incomprehension and moved it up a notch to disgust and hatred.  Unlike my dad, I understand that people don't all care about rules.  And I hate those people.

Which brings me back to the breakdown at Sonic.  People who have babies after breaking so many rules seriously piss me off.  Like, seriously.  I'm sure the emotional response I have to it will subside, but right now I already want to hit almost every pregnant woman I see, so, well, it caught me on a bad day when I have little patience...

Maybe my problem isn't so much all the people around me breaking rules, but the fact that I'm standing on the sidelines going, "you can't do that," when they so clearly can, and are, doing that, and they don't even hear me trying to referee, nor do they much care.  Maybe I should learn something from them.  Maybe I'm too far one way, and maybe there are people who are too far the other way, and maybe a good way would be to ride the center line.  Maybe, rather than going out and purposefully breaking rules, I just need to not care about the rules so much.  Because as I said in the beginning, they don't give you a medal for abiding by rules, and nobody really cares.

And that is why I am seriously considering getting my nose pierced next week.  And I would actually be saying I'm definitely getting it pierced, except I'm a real wimp when it comes to needles, and I'm afraid I might pass out.  But I'm really playing around with it.  Which, in and of itself, is a big deal.  I'm all worried about how that will affect me professionally.  Will it hurt me to walk into a meeting with a tiny stud in my nostril?  Will people not take me seriously?  Will it be something I regret?  To which I say, screw it.  I'm sick of worrying about whether I'll regret something.

Maybe some nose-piercing will keep the midlife crisis at bay until I can figure all this stuff out.


Random Check In and Cat Complaints

Long time no blog.  I was traveling to our glorious state's fair capital city, Sacramento, for the California Library Association annual conference.  Hung out at our booth and went to some sessions, and had a Board retreat with our most fabulous Board of Directors at the Sacto Public Library (they have free downloadable music there - for cardholders - membership has its privileges), which has an excellent cafe called La Bou attached to it, which I highly recommend.

I drove rather than fly.  It's a 6.5 hour drive.  It's a 4 hour door-to-door flight.  Till you strip for security, and partition out all the toiletries you can't take, it's really much more worth it to drive, at least to me.  I listened to Bill Bryson's new book, At Home: A History of Private Life, which should have been named At Home: A History of Everything that Wasn't Covered in My Last Book, A Short History of Nearly Everything.  It made the drive through the Central Valley pretty tolerable.

So this is a short entry just to let the People of Earth know that I'm still alive and kicking.  I'm going slightly mad at the moment, though.  We had a catsitter come to take care of the cats (duh) while we were gone, and I swear, they are purposefully rebelling.  One got out while we were gone.  The catsitter has no idea how.  She was totally freaking out.  Now they are pooping on the carpet in front of the couch.  Peeing on the freshly-cleaned windowpanes.  Throwing up in front of my closet.  All in the same night.

Then the garbage disposal explodes while I was disposing of rotten asparagus that was two weeks old.  An hour later, and the kitchen is cleaned up, but I still stink.

It's time for a book and bed.  I'm pooped.  Literally.  UGH.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Casey Schwartz at The Daily Beast - You Suck.

They say that when you become pregnant, you notice pregnant women everywhere.  It's because you're suddenly looking through the world with different lenses - lenses that notice pregnant women.  Now that I've miscarried, miscarriages are everywhere.  That being said, though, I don't think it's just me.  I think that miscarriages really are all over the place.  Mariah Carey was just on the cover of US Weekly talking about her miscarriage.  Lily Allen lost her baby.  Now we've got W talking about his experience with his mom when she miscarried.

The Daily Beast posted an article by Casey Schwartz where she described the scene, as Bush described it to Matt Lauer, as The Strange Bush Fetus Secret.  W was home with his mom when she miscarried.  She put the fetus into a jar and he drove her to the hospital.  Hey Casey Schwartz - for something to be a secret, it has to not be talked about.  Telling it to Matt Lauer on national television kind of negates the idea that it's a secret.  In a rebuttal, Time called it Not So Strange After All, outlining the medical reasons for why she would put it in a jar.  I won't go into those - I'm not an expert in what to do medically during miscarriages.

I am, however, familiar with what goes on mentally during a miscarriage, seeing as how I had one 4 weeks and 1 day ago.

Casey Schwartz, what makes you an expert on miscarriage?  Have you had one?  If so, I'm so sorry for your loss, and it would be wise for you to stand up and talk about it, and not feed the taboo attitudes that people have about them; the ideas that they need to be whispered about, can't be discussed in public, and need to be hidden from polite society.

If you haven't, which is my guess from your article, then seriously, f*ck you.  You have no idea what happens in a miscarriage.  You have no idea the physical pain that happens, the anguish when you pass your dead baby that has been growing inside of you for however many weeks.  You have no idea the confusion about what to do, what's going on, how scary it is.  I was snug in a hospital bed with warm blankets and doctors and nurses all around me, and I still thought I was going to die. Seriously. I told my husband that I was scared I was dying.  My body went into shock from the blood loss, I was shaking and shutting down, and I was passing a dead baby.

I have no idea what it would have been like to have been alone with a teenage son at home.  I didn't have the mental wherewithal to figure out if I wanted an epidural or not.  To be at home with my other child- the heartbreak, fear and confusion would have been overwhelming.

How dare you make a judgement on what is weird or strange or not on something that you have no idea or experience of.  I suspect you did it because you disagree with W's politics.  I disagree with his politics too, but this is beyond politics.  This is a sacred moment, when something that was alive suddenly isn't alive, and it's happening inside of you.  It's a moment that 1 in 4 women will suffer through, sadly.  It's admirable that W was able to be strong for his mother, to share in her pain, and to support her as she needed.  It makes him more human to me.  He experienced something that many men have had to deal with - supporting and nurturing a women during a miscarriage - but all too few talk about.  I admire him for talking about it, and for opening the forum to discuss it.

People like you shut down open discourse by making judgments on things that you know nothing about, and you keep people from talking.  And for that, you suck.

I didn't hold my baby.  I was too spent and too upset and in too much pain.  The nurses took pictures of him, and I will keep those and look at them when I miss him.  I feel like I missed an opportunity in holding him - being able to look at, love, and experience his perfectness - perfectness that I created with my husband.  There are medical reasons for keeping a fetus, and there are emotional ones.  Many people hold their baby for hours and hours after it dies, and it's comforting to them to know that it's real, it wasn't a dream.  He was there, he's mine, and he was alive inside of me.

For you to call that strange or weird shows me that you are a shallow person, lacking the depth needed to cover a story of such heartbreak.  You should have passed this story on to someone else, and stuck to writing stories like the others you did on TDB, stories about the science behind feeling full, or why men prefer fuller figured women during a recession.

By the way, if you have experienced a miscarriage, or someone close to you has, I would really love to know what train of thought led you to write your article, to get so many people riled up about something that is so personal and emotional, and to make such a judgement on something in such a short article.  Because I just can't understand it.


In other news, we picked up Baby T's ashes on Tuesday.  He's home with us now, where he belongs.  I miss him so much, but it's comforting to have him close by, on the bookshelf, and know that he is with us.  I'm too angry to write much more right now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The miraculous power of to-do lists

I've always been a fan of to-do lists.  When I was a kid and bored in class, I'd write out my schedule for the night as such:
3:15 get home
3:20 change clothes
3:30 watch Shee-Ra Princess of Power
4pm start math homework
4:30 do history homework
5pm eat dinner
5:30 practice piano
and so on it went, the whole night blocked out into neat little 15 or 30 minute segments.  Now it's harder to do that, because in real-life jobs we tend to get interrupted which puts us off track (that's one reason I hate answering the phone so much), so I've turned to basic to-do lists.  I keep my work to-do list on my google calendar, and my personal one is in my journal.  When I'm journaling in the morning, I always take time to write out the things I want to accomplish that day.

To Do Lists have become very important to me lately.  I write everything on them.  Feed the cats, which happens twice a day, goes on the To Do List, twice.  Feed the Cats AM and Feed the Cats PM.  Doing the litter twice also goes on, twice.  So does taking a bath, filling the cats' water bowls, doing the breakfast dishes, cooking dinner, and doing my laundry.

Why have I started listing nearly everything but breathing in my To Do List?  Because of the satisfaction I get when I cross it off.  I've been feeling so useless lately, so guilty and completely dysfunctional, that the rush I get from crossing something off a list makes me feel human again.  It makes me feel like I can do this.  I can get through life.  I can function like a normal adult.  I can remember to feed the cats, ergo I can remember to do my job.  I can clean the litter box, ergo I can get pregnant and carry a baby to term.

It makes me feel like I'm doing something, and not just withering away into a shell of misery and hopelessness.  I am taking a bath and reading a book, dammit!  I went out to get coffee this morning!  And remembered my ATM code when I got cash back.  I can handle this living thing.  Hey!  I did my laundry!  I must be useful!  There must be a purpose to this whole living-with-ridiculous-pain stuff.

In other news, tonight is the first night of my support group for parents who lost babies.  And, I guess, that would be us.  I now fit into a new demographic.

No pictures from me today, but I am a huge fan of Joe Cornish, who photographs landscapes in northeastern England. I bought a bunch of his cards and prints in a shop in Scarborough and still have them up everywhere.  This one's my favorite.  Enjoy the peacefulness.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The theory of relativity in being ok

Before getting into anything deep, here's another sunrise picture.  I've got to photoshop that little green blurb out of it - this is untouched.  But when I do that, I think it'll look super-pretty.  I like the tips of the grasses having the light shine behind them.

And also, the composer of the day is John Rutter.  I've been listening to his Requiem for much of the day, but most of that is pretty depressing.  True story: once I spent All Soul's Day in Cambridge and was at King's College listening to the choir perform the Rutter Requiem.  It was getting dark at 4pm, and was a cold and dreary day anyway, and there we were, Sandor and I, in this cold, damp, 800 year old building with bad lighting, listening to this moving requiem by candlelight, and smack dab in the middle of the Agnus Dei some old man sitting in the choir stalls passes out.  There was much huffing and puffing and asking if a doctor was in the house, and carrying of the man through the center of the chapel out the back door.  All the while, the choir kept singing as if nothing was happening.  It was so surreal.

But like I said, the requiem is pretty depressing.  It's beautifully depressing, but still, I'm trying not to be a complete downer all the time.  So, here is a Gaelic Blessing... deep peace of the gentle night to you, moon and stars pour their healing light on you...

So a lot of people are asking me if I'm ok these days.  What does that mean?  What is ok, anyway?  Because with the world turning upside down on me, I've got a whole new sliding scale of what being ok actually means.  According to Webster's it means "not excellent, and not poor.  Mediocre."  But that still isn't saying much because it's all relative.

A month ago, a day was ok if I got a reasonable amount of work done, didn't eat every piece of chocolate in the house, got to spend some time reading, maybe wrote in my journal and listened to some of my favorite music.  If I worked out, got to spend some time outside, or if Project Runway was on, it was slightly above ok.

These days, I'm doing ok if I only cry three times in a 24 hour period.  I'm doing ok if I can fall asleep on my own without the help of drugs (though with my back issues, I've been getting a lot of help from drugs the past couple of days).  If I don't wake up when it's still dark (I dread the dark.  It's not a good time of year for me to lose a child, what with the way I hate the darkness so much.  Then again, is there ever a good time to lose a child?).

When I stopped bleeding, it was a great day.  It meant that I could start putting this mess behind me, physically at least.  And then I got the back issues, which have put me several steps behind where I've been.

The funeral home called and my son's ashes and death certificate are ready to be picked up.  When we get the strength to go get them, it will not be an ok day.  Picking up the ashes of a baby that you never got to hold, whose tiny fingers you never got to coo over, but whom you loved just the same - that is not the activity of an ok day.

That said, today I didn't feel like cooking, so we ordered pizza.  Pizza is pretty much ok. It's hard to argue with the ok-ness of pizza.  We got a lot of chores done around the house, so that's ok, too.  Wrigley the Cat is being sociable and cuddling with me, which is slightly above ok on the scale.  She's not the most social cat, and when I get attention from her, it makes me feel loved.

I just finished the first book I've read since the Horrible Day, Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch and it made me laugh.  Now I'm midway through Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked.  These books make me happy because they're the kind of books I loved before I lost my baby, when stupid things were important, and everything didn't have to be dark and heavy for me to think it worthwhile.  Spending a day reading, and catching up on my NaNoWriMo word count is a step above ok because it lets me tap into my creativity, and I can be quiet without feeling tortured.

So who knows what ok means anymore.  If someone asks me whether I'm doing ok, I don't know how to answer that, because I don't know what their frame of reference is.  What is ok to them?  Am I doing ok by their standards?

I think I'm probably just barely holding it together by many people's standards, but for me, every day that I get through is becoming a victory.  Like an addict who is proud of getting through a day without using, I'm proud of getting through a day without collapsing into a lump of moaning sobs in the grocery store.

It's all relative.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Here comes the sun...

Our mountains, this morning, sunrise.

And, the Beatles.  Because everything is slightly better with the Beatles.

It's a good day so far.

Friday, November 5, 2010

the fun continues

I've been having back problems the past few weeks.  Since approximately October 12 at 11pm.  Which would, incidentally, be when I finished labor and delivery.  Are the two related?  Hmmmm.....  The past four days I've had two spasms, which have been less than fun.  Actually, they've been quite painful, despite the immediate swallowing of vicodin, which kind of makes me feel like Rush Limbaugh when I take it.  But that's a different story...

I went to the doctor today, and he realized right away that my Sacroiliac Joint (S-Joint for those of in the know) is out of whack and my muscles keep having spasms.  Sometimes the S Joint gets out of place during strenuous activity.  It usually goes right back into place, but can have a hard time getting back if it got really knocked around during something traumatic.  Like, say, oh, labor.

So the suckiness continues.  Here's what's sucky at the moment:
1.  I am not pregnant.
2.  I got to go through the pain of childbirth with no epidural and have no baby.
3.  I get to pay for the privilege.
4.  I get to have massive back spasms.
and finally
5.  I now get to be on muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medicine, and vicodin.

Life is just grand at the moment.

However, since the holidays are coming up, the drug stores have all their cheap makeup kits out to entice people to buy useless gifts.  But man, they are FUN to play with.  One of my favorite things is to get one of those huge kits that has eight million eye shadows and six million lip glosses, all of which are "specially formulated to work with all shades" and play with them all in front of the tv, ideally when watching something really really girly, like The Hills or Bridget Jones.  I secretly love playing with makeup.  I lay it all out around me, and then organize it by color and then try out different lipstick shades, and then try out new ways to do smoky eyes, and the whole thing is just too much fun for words.  Then I put it all back together.  The whole process can last anywhere between 30 minutes to three hours depending on how much time I have.

The point of all this is that I indulged in buying some cheap makeup at the drug store while I was getting my drugs/prescriptions and am hoping that they don't make me pass out before I get some good girly play time this evening.

And now, for the music of the day, the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson singing one of my favorite hymns of all time, It is Well with My Soul.  Because really, it isn't well with my back.  And it isn't well with my uterus.  But it's pretty well with my soul, and for that, I'm grateful.  And now, I will have an evening of dopiness thanks to the drugs.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Before I say anything else, let me preface the next few sentences by saying that of course I would rather be pregnant than have any of the following, but given that I'm not, it's nice to find solace where you can.  There are three good things I get to experience until I get pregnant again, and they are:

1.  I could dye my hair last night and cover up the four pesky gray strands that have made an appearance at the top of my head.  I was covering them up with headbands while I was pregnant, but now that I'm not, I can get rid of them.

2.  I can sleep on my belly again, which is lovely.  Of course, I was just getting used to being a side-sleeper, but still, I'll enjoy burying my face into my pillow while I can.

3.  Last night I slept like crap and had to get up early and leave the house at 6:45 for an early meeting.  Driving down our mountain blasting Flo Rida with the windows all down, I was wondering how I'd stay awake.  And then I passed Starbucks and remembered that I'm not pregnant anymore, so caffeine is allowed from time to time (I've heard it affects fertility, so I'm not going to start drinking triple-shot lattes regularly any time soon, but you know, when you need it, it's nice).

And now, for something upbeat, to go along with my upbeat mood, some Flo Rida and David Guetta.  I love it when I actually like pop songs.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This album with Yo Yo Ma first came out when I was living in England.  I used to listen to it on the headphones in the music section at the Borders on Oxford Street, which is, incidentally, where I met Paulo Coehlo once, too.  It was right about the time when I had to leave because my work visa had expired.  Now Borders has gone out of business in the UK, and I don't have my baby.  Sigh.  I wanted to share it because it is truly one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.  Listen to it with headphones, not just on your computer speakers.  And close your eyes.  You really have to close your eyes.

More Random Thoughts

Lily Allen lost her baby at six months, from an infection.  Just like me.  My heart goes out to her - this is her second one, I think.  I found out she was pregnant pretty soon after I found out I was pregnant, and I was stoked because I really like her music, and I thought it was super-cool that I could have a baby at the same time as one of my favorite singers.  Now I lost a baby right before she lost hers.  So sad.

There is just so much sadness around now, I just don't know what to do with it.  I had no idea that such sadness could exist in the world.  I really didn't know that anybody could be this sad and still function.  But that's the crazy thing about life wanting to go on.  The sadness doesn't mean that you can't do anything else - it's not an either/or thing.  You just do other things with the sadness all around you.  It's like this cloak I wear now.  I still laugh at 30 Rock, I still wish Mondo would have won Project Runway (and I still think Ivy is a serious b*tch), and I still cook dinner, pay bills, and change cat litter.  But I do it all wearing this sadness - it's just part of my wardrobe now, and I don't have to think about it.  It's just there.

I guess eventually it will get old, like any coat you wear every day.  Right now it's still new and fresh, so I notice it all the time because it's not worn in yet, and it's still a little stiff in the sleeves.  Eventually it will get really comfortable, and maybe a little ragged, and I won't feel all conspicuous wearing it.  I won't worry about wearing it in the rain or getting some mud on it.  And then it will just become part of me, and I won't even think about the fact that I'm wearing it anymore.  Maybe it will get so old it will fall apart, and I'll just have some scraps of its fabric left, which I will put in a box.  Maybe then I'll get a new happy coat to wear instead.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to figure out who I am and what I want in life.  Everything I do, I ask myself "do I really like this?  Does this new Heather really like this?" and it's funny the things I've come up with.  So far I've identified several things I'm sure I like:

My husband
Christmas decorations in stores - I really don't care that they come out so early.  I've decided that I really like them, no matter how early they put them out.
Blink 182
cranberry juice
Tina Fey
iced mochas
3 ring hole punches
romantic comedies, specifically ones with Hugh Grant
the way our air smells like pine up here in the mountains

Some things I used to really love, that I'm currently on the fence about:
having as many cats as we do (not like I'm going to get rid of any - just future reference that I might not want to do that again)
politics, the huffington post, and political media in general, which may or may not include Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, but excludes Jon Stewart because he has a hotness factor which overrides the political stuff.
having a lot of books around.  What's the point?  To show off how smart I am or something?  Surely I should be able to prove that without having to invite people into my office to stare at my book collection.
Having a big collection of downloaded music, especially from independent artists like the ones on emusic.  Am I trying to make myself seem well rounded and knowledgeable?  I don't listen to it anyway, so again I ask, what's the point?

So those are the random thoughts for the day.  I haven't been doing all that well with NaNoWriMo the past two days.  I started writing on Monday night, but I started writing a book where the girl loses her baby, and I wound up crying for an hour.  So I think I have to start again.  Maybe it's too early to write a novel about that.  Maybe it's too fresh.  Maybe I should just go back to the novel I wanted to write originally.  It doesn't seem right, somehow.  Like I should write about something deep and heavy after what I've been through.  But maybe that's the point after all.  Maybe the point is that there's way too much heavy stuff out there, and people take themselves too seriously already, so maybe my new job in life is to bring light and laughter everywhere.

Or even better, maybe there really isn't any effing point, and I should just do what makes me happy and not what makes me cry.  Ahhh, she says, starting to get it....

I'm thinking about doing something totally out of character and getting my nose pierced.  Either that or a tattoo.  I always wanted a tattoo, but I'm not so big on needles.  After getting one in my spine, though, I think I might be able to handle it for something small.  A little butterfly or something, for Baby T.

I think I might be freaking my hubby out with my talk of tattoos and piercings.  We're both trying to figure out who we are.  In a way it's kind of exciting.  Not something I want to do again, like a roller coaster, kind of exciting.  More like a hitting rock bottom kind of exciting.